10 healthy foods and drinks that help manage blood sugar

When you have prediabetes or diabetes, it can be difficult to know which foods and drinks are the best choices. But these 10 picks by Dr Ganesh Kadhe, associate director, Medical Affairs and Scientific Nutrition, Abbott can help keep your numbers under control.

1. Nuts (any type)

Lentils, kidneys, black beans or chickpeas are low glycemic index foods. (Photo: Canva)

Lentils, kidneys, black beans or chickpeas are low glycemic index foods. This means that their carbohydrates are gradually released so they are less likely to cause spikes in blood sugar. They are so beneficial that a recent study found that eating a cup of nuts daily for three months as part of a low-glycemic diet lowered HbA1c (hemoglobin A1c) levels by half a percentage point.

Try it: Swap your regular dal for rajma in your next meal from time to time

2. Apple

Put an apple in your lunch bag or take one between meals. (Photo: Canva)

You might think that there’s no room in a diabetic meal plan for fruit, but apples are also low glycemic. Aiming for foods that are low or moderate on the glycemic index is one way to manage blood sugar levels. Eating an apple, a day has its benefits – they are high in fiber, vitamin C and fat free! Not to mention a portable and easy snack option.

Try it: Put an apple in your lunch bag or take one between meals. Try baking it with a pinch of cinnamon for a warm snack when you’re craving dessert.

3. Almonds

Try adding more almonds to your diet for a daily dose of this blood sugar balancing mineral.

These crunchy nuts are rich in magnesium, a mineral that can help your body use its own insulin more effectively. Try adding more almonds to your diet for a daily dose of this blood sugar balancing mineral. Plus, nuts like almonds are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, protein, and fiber, which make them a great way to help manage blood glucose levels.

Try it: For a healthy on-the-go snack, pack 30g of almonds in a single-serving container.

4. Spinach

This leafy green has just 21 calories per cup cooked and is loaded with magnesium and blood sugar-friendly fiber. Plus, you can enjoy the spinach raw, sautéed in olive oil, in your favorite palak paneer or even mixed to make it a versatile choice too!

Try it: Put a handful of baby spinach in your next smoothie or use it instead of lettuce in a salad.

5. Chia seeds

You’ve probably heard that losing or managing weight is one of the best things you can do to raise your blood sugar. Chia seeds can help with that. In one study, people with diabetes who added about an ounce of chia seeds to a calorie-controlled diet for six months lost four pounds and trimmed an inch and a half from their waist circumference. In addition to being packed with fiber, these gems also contain protein and provide 18 percent of the recommended daily intake of calcium.

Try it: Mix a quarter cup of chia seeds with one cup of 1 percent or nonfat milk and half a cup of diced fruit. Chill overnight and enjoy for breakfast the next morning.

6. Add diabetes-specific formula

Along with lifestyle modifications and regular exercise, it is advisable to add a specific Diabetes formula to your diet plan. Look for formulas designed with specific ingredients such as complex carbohydrates, vitamins & anti-oxidants to help manage the steady release of glucose. Ideally the formula should be included in your breakfast, lunch, or dinner as a partial replacement of the food in one of your modified meals, which helps keep blood glucose and weight under control.

Try it: Bring a serving of formula in your shaker (to take with water) so you’ll always have a healthy snack on hand — no matter how busy your day is.

One study showed eating the equivalent of about 2 cups of blueberries daily improved insulin sensitivity in overweight people. (Photo: Canva)

7. Blueberries

Other fruit choices: the evidence for the health benefits of eating blueberries is compelling. Blueberries contain compounds that have been shown to help reduce your risk of heart disease and help improve the way your body uses insulin. One study showed that eating the equivalent of about 2 cups of blueberries daily improved insulin sensitivity in overweight people with insulin resistance. They are also a great source of fiber and other nutrients such as vitamin C and antioxidants.

Try it: Take half a cup of fresh blueberries (or thawed frozen blueberries) and spoon over unsweetened plain yogurt. Or add a cup of blueberries to your smoothie.

8. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is not only good for your heart. It can benefit your blood sugar as well. Just like apples, steel-cut and rolled oats have a low glycemic index. Keep in mind that while steel-cut and rolled oats are a great option, processed, instant oats tend to be higher on the glycemic index and therefore not blood sugar friendly.

Try it: Choose steel-coated oatmeal or rolled oats with masala for a savory option and with blueberries for a sweet option and enjoy a hearty and hearty breakfast.

Add turmeric to your daily diet and make sure not to miss your daily dose of turmeric. (Photo: Canva)

9. Turmeric (Haldi)

This golden spice contains curcumin, a substance that can maintain a healthy pancreas and prevent prediabetes from turning into type 2 diabetes.

Try it: Add turmeric to your daily diet and make sure not to miss your daily dose of turmeric.

10. Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea has long been used for various ailments. Existing research suggests that it has antioxidant and anticancer properties, and a recent study found that it can help you manage your blood sugar levels, too. When participants in the study drank one cup of chamomile tea after meals three times a day for six weeks, they showed reduced levels of blood sugar, insulin, and insulin resistance.

Try it: Replace your after-dinner cocktail with a cup of freshly brewed chamomile tea. Try adding a slice of lemon for flavor and an extra dose of vitamin C.

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